4 lottery teams guaranteed to make the NBA playoffs in 2024–25

Washington Wizards v Houston Rockets
Washington Wizards v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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2) Toronto Raptors

It's been a tough couple of years for the Toronto Raptors. While they can appropriately bask in the glow of their championship forever, virtually every part of that title run is long gone now. But Masai Ujiri is piecing together his next playoff team.

Two critical moves came during this season. First, Pascal Siakam was sent to the Indiana Pacers. Second, OG Anunoby was dealt away for a package including native son RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley. The Raptors team that has come out of all of the recent moves is the kind Ujiri likes to employ. The team is full of young, fast, scrappy players. The headliner is Scottie Barnes.

But Barnes is also among those who have struggled with injuries this season, along with several starters and key rotation players. That has meant opportunities for players whose contributions could prove valuable a year from now.

It's been encouraging to see how Gradey Dick has developed over the course of the year. At the beginning of the season, the lottery pick was struggling to find a role in the rotation. He's been coming along as of late after being pressed into service, though, even dropping 21 points on one of the league's best teams in the Oklahoma City Thunder.

There's going to be growing pains in building the next true contender in Canada. But there's enough there to start eyeing a return to the postseason as soon as next year.